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~~~ In 959a.d. after the battle of Bovino, King Otto I of
Saxony (Ottone I di Sassonia) son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim, Duke of the Saxons, King of the Germans and
Founder of the Holy Roman Empire ordered the construction of a stronghold, situated on a hill, which eventually grew to become what we now know as SanFele
Italy. King Otto had advanced into Calabria and Puglia.
This elevated site, on what the locals call the pyramids, was chosen for its *obvious* defensive advantages. In 969 AD, the castle-fortress was completed. The constructors of the fortress, being from Venosa, dedicated the fortress to their protector-saint; San Felice. Abt 70 years after the castle-fortress was constructed the first houses of the town were built along the outer walls of the fortress.
His massive castle had huge prisons where many famous leaders were kept; the first inmate was Henry the 2nd of Bavaria. In 1036 the fortress was used to imprison male rebels who were captured when trying to overthrow the feudal overlord of Milan. When the prisoners were freed by Conrad II rather than return to Lombardy, which was experiencing an epidemic, many of the Milanese exiles married the women of the neighboring Valle di Vitalba, forming the first families of the city. These families resided on the side of the hill known as Monte Castello.
Sanfele was later run by a succession of feudal lords who were appointed by different Kings to rule the estate at various times. During the Third Crusade San Fele was a Barony that was worth 20 ounces of gold.
In the 1100 to 1500 centuries San Fele, with its octagonal castle, was an important strategic point for the entire Vitalba Valley due to its impenetrable location. The castle was expanded several times, first in 1240 by order of Frederick II and later under the rule of Charles of Anjou in 1270. In 1438 the upheavals that occurred after the death of King Charles led to the destruction of the castle by Antonio Caldaro.
In 1456, a terrible earthquake shook San Fele, damaging the Church of Pierno. In 1613 the Doria family bought the estate (now known as San Fele) and retained ownership until 1811
In the mid-1700s Southern Italy or Mezzogiorno was under Bourbon domination that lasted 126 years. The living conditions of the population were poor and San Fele still observed old rules granted by the feudal lords
In the chaotic aftermath of the Unity of Italy (Risorgimento), Sanfele was impacted by the famous Brigantaggio (bandits) like Giovanni "Coppa" Fortunato, Vito "Totaro" Di Gianni e Francesco "Tinna" Fasanella and they distinguished themselves as lieutenants of the infamous and notorious brigand Capo (boss) Carmine Crocco, also known as Donatello or sometimes Donatelli.
King Otto had advanced into Calabria and Puglia.The region of Basilicata (which the Romans called Lucania) was located in the middle. Therefore King Otto saw it as a perfect location for his defense of the Holy Roman Empire from the South. The fortress was built as protection against Byzantine incursions.
From this period the town of San Fele has followed along a little with all the events of
history. It has been disrupted by landslides and by the disastrous earthquake of the eighties.
Also, San Fele has been greatly reduced in population by ongoing emigration. There is a saying
every time someone marries... 'another empty house'
The first emigration phase started in the second half of the nineteenth century to the first postwar period. These immigrants headed overseas particularly to Brazil, Argentina, the United States and Canada.
From the Second World War up to the present day, especially during the early economic boom, the families moved to Switzerland (in particular the outskirts of Lucerne and Zurich) Germany, Belgium and northern Italy (especially Piedmont, Lombardy and Tuscany). There are a significant number of Sanfelesi in Australia and in particular in the city of Sydney where there are now more Sanfelesi (over 3000) than in their village of origin.
The emigration of recent years has been younger Sanfelesi moving to larger Italian cities especially Torino (Turin), Milano (Milan) , Firenze (Florence), & Roma (Rome).
This site exists to help others freely connect to sanfele (sanfelese) descendants throughout the world as a hobby of the Webmaster & all the SanFele genealogy researchers who are gathering ancestral records on their immigrant ancestors.
This official San Fele, Italy Global Genealogy Connections Website charges no_fees, collects no_dues and has no allegiance to any organization or particular belief system.
This Sanfele surnames researchers' site freely exists to help all who are interested in their San Fele Roots learn about their emigrant ancestors and connect to
Sanfelesi relatives throughout the world as a hobby of the Webmaster & the dedicated non-profit genealogists listed on our San Fele Surname Search pages & San Fele Genealogy Family Trees.
Hopefully our research experiences will benefit others looking for info on our S.Fele immigrant ancestral heritage and together we can continue to learn the stories of our
SanFele, PZ, Italian ancestry and discover more
sanfelesi family tree "genealogy"
Best Regards Always,
San Fele Genealogy Connections Researchers
Best Regards Always,
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